The Timber Nib (or Timber Bob)
This is a carriage-like implement, drawn by horses, used to extract lengths of timber from the forest. Debris, soil and the risks of fouling stumps of felled trees made the task very difficult.
The large wheels of the nib are first made to straddle the front (wider) end of the log to be moved, the nib is tipped backwards so that the drawbar pointed into the air and then the log chained to the axle of the nib. The drawbar is then pulled down, thus lifting the front end of the log off the ground allowing it to be towed without the risk of fouling.
As tractors replaced horses, logs were often hauled out after being lifted by a device attached to the three point hydraulic linkage at the back of the tractor. Another device similar to the Timber Bob called a “Sulky” or “Timber Arch” was also used behind crawler tractors, the front end of the log being winched up ready for towing.
Timber Carriage (Pole Waggon)
The Pole Waggon is used to transport timber from the forest. The carriage is loaded and drawn by horses - a very heavy job. To load the carriage, ramps are placed on one side and the log pulled up the ramps by ropes looped round the log and pulled by the horses from the opposite side.
In later years a similar way of loading was to use a tractor mounted winch to drag bigger logs up ramps onto the wagon; this is sometimes demonstrated at our Working with Wood event. This is an early wooden carriage; you may spot a later tractor drawn equivalent in the wood yard, in addition to a converted railway wagon used for the same purpose.
(See below for pictures)
The Tree Bundler is used to prepare young trees for transport. It is one of eight imported from Germany in the early 1900s and is believed to be the only one remaining. It was used by S. Bide & Sons Ltd. at their Alma Nurseries in Farnham. It cost the museum £5 and arrived in 1971, after S. Bide & Sons Ltd. closed. In 1996 volunteers resored it from its poor condition and the last known employee of Bides was located to demonstrate its use. Normally, the tree is protected with straw and placed into the centre of the machine.The handle turned, pulling the branches in. The bundle is tied with string in a 'Chelsea Knot' to secure everything. The end result is similar to the way Christmas trees are often wrapped.
Straw-packed trees were a familiar sight at Farnham railway station from 1930 to 1960.
There are two drag saws in the Forestry display, one of which has had the engine replaced. Drag saws use a long saw blade similar to that of a two man saw, but driven by a stationary engine mounted at the back of the device. A series of cranks and gears create a sawing motion.
The rack saw is chained to the log to be cross cut and gradually sawed down through the log — the saw is capable of sawing through large timber and with a different blade can even be used for stone-cutting.
A working drag saw may often be seen in the woodyard.
Pimp (Kindling) Bundler
This small machine is used to compress bundles of kindling to be tied together with string or wire. The kindling is placed in the jaws of the machine and the handle pulled, compressing the kindling together.
This is a Swiss designed device to assist in climbing trees. Ours was used at the local Tillhill Nursery.
We have a fine collection of the tools used by the forester, from billhooks for brashing (removing branches) and general coppice work, including hazel, chestnut and ash; axes for felling trees and trimming the branches; saws of all shapes and sizes for felling, cross-cutting and pit sawing and cant hooks for turning the logs.
These were used to assist with moving big logs and for extracting tree stumps from the ground. The display includes early wooden jacks and a later Monkey Jack.
The Wood Yard
Our working wood yard is a part of the museum run by a group of volunteers mainly using their own vintage equipment.
The yard contains a wooden rack saw originally used by the museum’s founder, Henry Jackson. This saw was only recently restored to working condition. It is called a rack saw because the wooden bed is moved along a rack by turning the handle, feeding the timber to be cut into the blade. The entire saw originally had folding corrugated iron roof and sides. Such rack saws could be powered by traction engines or at a later period by tractors.
There is also a metal rack saw of later date, together with a machine for cutting kindling and the pimp bundler that is then used to bundle the cut firewood.
The Old Kiln Light Railway extends into the yard as a tramway, aiding handling of timber, and there are also a number of winch tractors and other forestry equipment. A new addition will be a machinery shelter next to the Cycle Workshop, featuring a range of belt driven woodworking machinery including an early Band Mill with a blade similar in appearance to that of a modern bow saw.
The wood yard volunteers ("woodies") demonstrate timber processing and handling on many days during the summer season, including the Working with Wood event in April and Rustic Sunday in July. Some machines are also run at other times, but note that these machines are over 50 years old; some may not be working at a given time or will not be on display due to maintenance.